In vitro and in vivo metastatic variants derived from Lewis lung carcinoma (3LL) were examined for the level of the expression of several growth-regulated genes, oncogenes, and transforming growth factor (TGF) genes. To determine whether the proliferative advantage of metastatic cells is due to an increased growth fraction of the cell population or to a deregulated expression of some growth-regulated genes, the mRNA levels of the S-phase-specific H3 histone gene were compared with that of some cell cycle-related genes (vimentin, calcyclin, c-myc, and p53) and oncogenes (Ki-ras, Ha-ras, c-sis, c-src, c-fes, and c-erb). In addition, to evaluate whether an autocrine pattern of cell proliferation is responsible for the proliferative advantage of metastatic cells, the level of the expression of TGF genes (α and β1) was studied.
Northern blot analysis demonstrated that in 3LL metastatic variants the expression of TGF-α as well as the expression of all growth-regulated genes and oncogenes studied are similar. Only the TGF-β1 gene is expressed at higher levels in highly metastatic 3LL variants maintained either in vitro or in vivo. Data suggest that the proliferative advantage of 3LL metastatic cells is not due to a deregulated expression of some growth-regulated genes and oncogenes, but more likely is acquired through the expression of genes which might interfere with the ability of the tumor cells to escape hostile microenvironmental conditions.
This work has been partially supported by the Associazione Italiana per la ricerca sul Cancro, by Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Grant 9002469 CT04, and by the Ministero della Sanità.